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Michigan bill would increase fines for drivers with loud cars

Modified car exhaust
A new bill proposed in the state House would increase fines for motorists who intentionally modify their cars to make them louder. (Shutterstock)
  • State Rep. Natalie Price introduced a bill that would increase fines for drivers who alter their vehicles to make them louder 
  • Under the bill, motorists would be fined $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for the second violation
  • It’s aimed at drivers with visible modifications that can be seen on officers’ body cameras

State Rep. Natalie Price, D-Berkley, introduced a bill in the state House on Thursday that would significantly increase fines for motorists who intentionally modify their vehicles' exhaust systems resulting in excessively loud noise. 

“This is definitely beyond just being inconvenienced. This is the No. 1 thing I hear from my constituents … right along Woodward, that the noises that are coming out of modified vehicles are really creating harm within those communities,” Price told Bridge Michigan. 


Noisy cars are a frequent complaint from people who live and work along the Woodward Avenue corridor in Oakland County, famous for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise. 


“I've had constituents who need to heal after surgery, caregivers of folks in hospice, young families bringing home newborn babies,” Price said. “This is very harmful to their health, not being able to sleep, not being able to rest and recover.” 

Residents in the area often mistake the loud cars for gunshots, resulting in an increase in 911 calls, Price said. 

Michigan prohibits drivers and dealers from altering exhaust systems to produce noise exceeding maximum levels set by the state — or offering vehicles for sale that exceed the limit. Violators could be fined up to $100. 

Price’s proposal would increase fines to $500 for first-time offenders and $1,000 for second-time offenders. Repeat offenders could be fined up to $1,000 and be found guilty of a misdemeanor. 

However, the fines could be waived if the individual found guilty repairs their vehicle so that it no longer makes excessive noise before the person is scheduled to appear in court, according to the bill. 

“If a vehicle is loud due to neglect or an accident, those aren't the people being targeted with this legislation,” Price said. 

“Our local public safety tells us that those modifications are clearly detected visually, that they can document that easily with their body cams,” she said.  “That’s who is being targeted with this legislation.”

According to the state vehicle code cars that have a gross weight of 8,500 pounds or more should not exceed 90 decibels on streets or highways in which the speed limit is 35 mph or more and 86 on streets or highways where the speed limit is less than 35 mph. 

The maximum allowable noise level for motorcycles or mopeds is 86 if the speed limit is greater than 35 mph or 82 if the speed limit is less than 35 mph. 

A normal speaking voice is measured at about 60 decibels while a rock concert is about 120. 

“I've had folks who ride motorcycles tell me that motorcycles are safer if they're louder, and I believe it,” Price said. “Those motorcycle manufacturers, they have strict guidelines — decibel levels that they have to keep their motorcycles in that are deemed safe and appropriate. And again, those motorcycles, those cars will not be targeted.” 

Motorcycle advocates argue that not only is having louder bikes safer, it allows other drivers to better see them. 


“Somebody will hear you or see you that didn’t before,”said Ed Schuitema, legislative director for the Michigan branch of American Bikers Aiming Toward Education

He recalled being run off the road last year and said, “maybe if my bike didn’t sound like a sewing machine at the time, maybe it wouldn’t have happened. It’s a visibility issue, it’s a safety issue” 

“I don't think it's noise; noise is a very subjective thing,” Schuitema said. “What’s noise to you may not be to me, and what’s noise to me may not be to you.” 

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation.

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